After the meeting, the chairman of the UMNO Anti-Defamation Committee, Datuk Paduka Ibrahim Ali expressed satisfaction with police action so far and said that the committee believed police would do their best to investigate the cases.
He said Norian Mai had also promised the committee that the police would treat the cases seriously.
Ibrahim said of the 21 reports, Norian had informed him that investigations into four were stopped due to lack of evidence, while the investigation papers of two others were sent to the deputy public prosecutor for further action.
Of the remaining 15 cases, six are being investigated under the Sedition Act, three under section 228 of the Penal Code, while the rest are under the Official Secrets Act.
This meeting of the UMNO Anti-Defamation Committee with the IGP and several top police officers was most unusual, extraordinary and even improper, for it had not only further compromised the independence, integrity and professionalism of the police force, but raised the question whether the Inspector-General of Police and top police officers had been overawed by the UMNO Anti-defamation committee because of the presence of an UMNO Minister and two Deputy Ministers from playing a neutral and non-partisan role in the political arena.
Among those present as part of the UMNO Anti-Defamation Committee team at Bukit Aman yesterday were the Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Wira Mohd Ali Rustam and Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Secondly, the top police command seems to be at the "beck-and-call" of the UMNO Anti-Defamation Committee, succumbing to its political pressures for action to be taken on police reports lodged by the UMNO, even having to give an account of what the police had done so far in its investigations - while the Opposition request for a meeting with the IGP and top police officers which had been made earlier had not received any attention or reply!
On 30th September 1999, Ibrahim Ali announced that the Umno Anti-defamation Committee wanted to meet Norian Mai for an update on the progress of investigations into alleged defamatory acts by the opposition against UMNO.
A week earlier, on Sept. 23, I had written to Norian Mai on behalf of leaders of Parti Keadilan Nasional, DAP, PAS and PRM asking for a meeting with the top police command on increasing public concerns at the trigger-happy police mentality, whether in the fatal shooting of Dr. Tai Eng Teck, the roughing-up of peaceful demonstrators or the arrest of opposition political activists.
At the meeting, Opposition leaders also intended to ask for an
update on the progress of police investigations into the four police reports
lodged by former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim since
July alleging corruption and abuses of power at the highest levels of government
leadership, naming in particular the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad, the first
Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz, the two highest law officers in the land, namely the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah and Datuk Gani Patail, the former Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Cik, and involving scandals and malpractices like the RM7 billion Perwaja scandal - all supported by documentary evidence concerning such allegations and abuses of power.
Apart from Anwar’s four police reports on corruption and abuses of power at the highest levels of government, the Opposition parties had also collectively lodged scores of police reports against the Barisan Nasional for corruption, sedition, false news and other offences, some going back as far back as 1995 and 1996, and we wanted to know the outcome of police investigations into these police reports.
When Ibrahim Ali announced that the UMNO Anti-Defamation Committee wanted to meet the Inspector-General of Police, I had issued a statement asking Norian Mai to meet the leaders of the four opposition parties first so as not to raise public doubts about police independence, neutrality and non-partisanship in party political matters.
I regret that the Norian Mai had met the UMNO Anti-Defamation Committee while ignoring the earlier request of the Barisan Alternative for an appointment. I am still waiting for the IGP to fix a date for the meeting with Opposition leaders.